Just looks wrong, doesn’t it?
Wes Johnson, Syracuse’s unexpected leader this year, donning an Iowa State uniform two seasons ago in Ames.
Probably seems like a lifetime ago to Wes – and an entirely different planet to Orange Nation. But with a young man leading the team in both points and rebounds (17-9), SU fans are wondering how they had the fortune of picking up a potential NBA lottery pick midway through his college career?
The soybean fields of rural Iowa may not be the mecca of college hoops, but apparently it wasn’t necessarily tied to campus life or the smaller stage of ISU.
It had primarily to do with the system.
While Iowa State declined to speak to The Fizz for this story, a source close to Wes’ situation told us it came down to the ‘Cuse’s style of play.
“At Iowa State they were running almost 100 different plays. Every time Wes came out of a timeout, he had about 4,000 things he needed to think about. Screen here, roll there, cut here, look for this guy. You know how many plays Syracuse runs? Like 5. Maybe 10.
Kids don’t want to be bogged down thinking out there – and then getting cussed out if they don’t pick it up. I think that’s what has made Boeheim so successful for so many years. Keeping it simple.
I think he was frustrated by the whole situation up there.
Kids just want to play. And Boeheim was gonna let Wes play. That was the difference.”
Sometimes the Orange can look like an exasperatingly undisciplined outfit. As The Fizz noted, poor decisions and fundamental misreads pockmarked the final minutes of the tight win in West Virginia.
But if the unstructured style of The Per’fesser’s coaching continues to lead legitimate Final Four contenders, land Top-10 recruiting classes and game-changers like Johnson, who’s to argue?